Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Sun 9.8.09, Morning

Ofra B., Sylvia P., Chana A. (reporting). Guests: Erica, Joshke.

6:50 AM, Bethlehem - Checkpoint 300:  most workers already passed. Thereports from the crossers is that things went smoothly and quickly, 10-20minutes across.

7:30 AM:  the exit hall is empty and we leave. 

7:50 AM, Etzion DCL:  about 50 people waiting outside, the dooris opened a little after 8:00. Most people are here to get a new magnetic cardor to apply for one.

We meet a couple whose 2-year old child has to have atonsillectomy. Both parents are security blacklisted and the operation is atthe Augusta Victoria (AV) Hospital,on Monday. They are told to wait and in the meantime we call Dalia B who saysshe doesn't know anything about it and, since in this case the same surgeonworks in the Beth Jalla (BJ) hospital as well as in the AV hospital, there is noreason to take the child to Jerusalem.The parents claim the BJ hospital is not functioning properly (although theyadmit the ENT surgeon is very good) and they have to pay in BJ whereas the UNwill pay for them in Jerusalem and they want to do it there. It seems to us there iszero chance to get a permit to accompany the child under the circumstances, butwe encourage them to stand in line and ask. After half an hour, they emergewith a permit, beaming.

We meet with some of our old friends as well as new one.Problems of security prevention are not being dealt with at this time.

Maher, a sheikh, is security blacklisted. We know him from along time and he is very known and famous in his community for his moderateopinions. He came on Thursday July 30 (Tisha Be'Av) to apply for a magneticcard. But he was told: "mamnua, go home". We called the humanitarianhotline and they didn't see anything in the computer to indicate why he couldnot get a magnetic card. Finally, after a few hours of waiting, it turned outthat the officer was not there in order to approve the issuance (it seems thatit needs an officer's approval to get a magnetic card for the blacklisted). Hewas told to come back today, Sunday 9/8. Why not the following Thursday(6/8) which is the day for his village: Beit Sahour? Because last week theDCL was supposed to be for Christians only, to issue magnetic cards and may belast hour permits for their feast of Mar Elias in Jerusalem. But thatarrangement lasted less than one day. The announcement for the temporaryarrangement was published with our report for Aug. 2, but the officer in chargeof the DCL (N) denied having published it. It was clear last week on Sundaythat there were hardly any Christians who needed to get a special permit andthe whole setup was unnecessary and only made people miserable. Maher, in anycase, was a victim of this temporary arrangement and came back today, as he wastold to do. This is not "his" day, however, and at first he was toldto go home and come back on Thursday, "his" day. 

Sylvia, who has beenaware of his predicament, was there today and ready for a fight when shelearned what Maher was up against. She did not give up, and, after a wait thatlasted from 6:30 in the morning until 15:00 in the afternoon, Maher at last gothis magnetic card. What does he think now? After all the run-around and thewrong information, the denials, the insinuation that he is the problem, and notthe other way around?

Further on this: Sylvia checked with the humanitarianhotline last Thursday to make sure that the arrangement was still in place. Thesoldier at the humanitarian hotline said that if he was told to come on Sunday- then the arrangement was in place. No need to check. We learned from theafternoon report that Maher was not the only victim from Beit Sahour who wastold to come on Sunday. But the others went home with empty hands. No addressto turn to.

Two Bethlehemresidents came to the DCL today to submit their requests for the removal oftheir security blacklisting. As there is no possibility since late June tosubmit the appeals, as provided for in the statutes, to the labor office of theCivil Administration, these people have been told to submit them at the DCLcentral office in person. But when they came with their forms, they weredenied this basic right and told to go home. What is happening here? This is aclear infringement of the human rights provided for on the books.

There are no more numbers for keeping the line in order.Therefore, there is a lot of tension. Women come at all times during the dayand are immediately given priority, upsetting the already delicate balance inthe hall of people waiting in line.